With Warcaster: Neo-Mechanika shipments taking place and models arriving on people’s doorsteps, I thought it best to finish the Firebrand, to go with my Paladins and Weaver! The light warjack chassis from the Iron Star Alliance, the Firebrand’s core armament suite includes the Repulsor Shield, Fusion Glaive, Assault Rifle w/ Bayonet, Harbinger Cannon and Null Cannon. The Repulsor Shield has become somewhat iconic in images of the Firebrand, so I decided to eschew the shield on this build (I’ll build my second Firebrand with one) and went for the Fusion Glaive, Assault Rifle, and the Harbinger Cannon.
The secondary weapon pack will add more toys, but I’m pretty happy with the aggressive mix I have here. The Fusion Glaive is a high power melee weapon that can force a system failure on opposing warjack, while the bayonet on the Assault Rifle adds a secondary melee weapon. The Harbinger Cannon can strafe across multiple enemy models, and the Assault Rifle fills in as a secondary ranged attack.
While the self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing of the Era of COVID-19 has been a boon for hobbyists in terms of getting things painted, it’s been an active struggle for those of us that crave the tabletop experience. Yes, there are tabletop simulators online, but they don’t compare to the actual fun of pushing toy soldiers around a tabletop, rolling dice, and uttering vague (or even specific!) invectives against the dice gods as your sure-thing turns into a complete crapfest.
I’ve spoken several times on social media about the benefits of having a hobby that we can sink into while distant from our opponents, enjoying a creative outlet and getting models painted, but the end of the list of benefits is always that we have something to look forward to: Actually getting to play our games with our friends, putting the models we’ve been working on onto the table, and enjoying the full tabletop gaming experience with fully painted armies.
To that end, I ask this – what are you lining up for your gaming experiences? What are you most looking forward to?
Myself, Age of Sigmar is high on the list since my main #PandemicProject was my Flesh-Eater Courts army. My Court of the Radiant King is almost ready to ride out across the shining plains if Hysh in service to their liege, to unleash truth, liberty and justice upon those evil ne’er-do-wells of the so-called Realm-Lords. Of course, since they’re bat-sh!t crazy, truth, liberty and justice actually translates to horror, dessecration and a whole lot of snacking. The painting table’s gotten a little jumbled lately, but I’ll find time to paint the Terrorgheist yet. And yes, for the 40K fans out there I am keenly aware of the Indomitus crusade, but my Flesh Tearers are nowhere near ready to field. Yet. And yes, I’m aware that I’m playing Flesh-Eaters for AoS and Flesh Tearers for 40K. There may be a subconscious theme running here. I admit nothing.
Marvel Crisis Protocol is right up there as well. I’m keen to assemble the full Guardians of the Galaxy roster (still need to get Drax/Ronan) and to get some personal experience as to how well they synergize (or don’t, which would also be totally in character). I’ve been slowly painting up other MCP models as well, so don’t be surprised if Spidey or Shuri find themselves in the mix, I’ve never been shy of applying whimsy to list creation.
The world of Riot Quest is expanding with Wintertime Wasteland, but I still have a bunch of models to finish painting from the Mayhem block. Finishing Feora the Forsaken also resulted in War Room being fired up and a list being put together that I’d love to try out… and of course, it’s become another painting project waiting to be launched.
Perhaps more timely is the imminent release of Warcaster. My Iron Star Alliance will be put on the table against AEdge’s Marcher Worlds, and pal Brandon’s admitted that the Empyreans are right up his alley aesthetically, so kicking tires with a new system is always on the to-do list… as is playing Monsterpocalypse. Blastikutter’s out now, it’s only a matter of time before Privateer gives me more units to work with beyond the Mollock Berserkers and Brutes.
Now I need to finish the commission paintjobs I have on the table so I can get back to work on models for each of these plans…
Were you online when we were graced with the digital presences of Will “I collect honey!” Hungerford and Oz “I am not a monster!” Schoonover, delivering the 2020 Keynote? We’re on the cusp of Warcaster, we’re in the aftermath of Oblivion, we’ve seen the coming of Gallamaxus as new friends and foes join the Monsterpocalypse, and of course, the Keynote – our sneak peek into Privateer’s plans for the coming year – had a few surprises for us as well.
You can watch the Keynote here:
Some neat things to note:
Iron Kingdoms: Requiem
The Iron Kingdoms RPG, reborn using the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edtion ruleset. I love me some classic IKRPG, but bringing the setting fully into 5e compatibility means potentially opening up the setting we love to a much wider audience, and with Matt Goetz – hands down one of my favourite writers/designers in the RPG industry – working on the project, I am very keen to see Requiem in my grubby little hands.
Bear in mind also, this will be a huge insight into the world of the Iron Kingdoms after the Infernal invasion. The events of Oblivion and the Hengehold Scroll were a major upheaval for Western Immoren, and we’ve all had a lot of questions as to the state of the world, and the fates of those left behind after the Cyriss gate closed. If the amount of lore and background for the setting in Requiem is anywhere near the quality that we got with IKRPG Full Metal Fantasy and IKRPG Kings, Nations and Gods (and of course, IK Unleashed) then we’re in for a hell of a treat.
Our primary source of alternate sculpts and concept reinventions, Minicrate has been putting out some excellent alternates through its subscription service. Some sign up for the six month stretch and get the VIP bonus model, others cherry pick the models that appeal most. The Keynote has given us a peek at 6 of the next year’s models, but of those shown in the video I think my personal favourites are Winter Watch (alt Pyg Lookout on a Polar Bear cub) and Fiona from the Black Lagoon (alt Fiona the Black as a mermaid).
I mean, there were no Menites in the list, but that doesn’t mean a few others won’t find a potential home in the Gdaycave…
The Draken Armada are coming in full force, with three new monsters and six new units – but we’ve known that these guys were incoming for awhile (even if we had no idea about Gausamal). What caught my eye was the Zerkalo Bloc, a cold war era style heavy metal foe from an alternate Earth. When I watched Pacific Rim, Cherno-1 was my favourite Jaeger aesthetically, so the concept renders definitely caught my eye.
On top of that we have the announcement of the Legion of Mutates – Anthropomorphic animals, including elephant men with rocket launchers – and the Masters of the 8th Dimension – geometric beings that defy physics and our understanding of biology. Now, I’m a commited Destroyers player, so I’ll pout a little that the Mutates are Protectors, but those Zerkalo’s will look awfully nice marching alongside my Mollocks…
The Keynote has announced the fourth faction for Warcaster, the first non-human faction – The Empyreans. The ancient alien masters of the Hyperanuion, they’ll follow the standard templating of the other factions – Solos, Units, Light and Heavy Warjacks – but the similarities largely end there. Armored carapaces with bonus tentacles, some of the Empyrean models don’t even bother with such gauche mundanities as legs and arms.
Humanity will be receiving some new toys as well, with the coming year’s wave introducing vehicles – the Razorbat (Marcher Worlds), Interceptor (Iron Star Alliance), Scythe (Aeturnus Continuum) and the Zenith (bringing the Empyreans in line). Each will have weapon hardpoints that welcome different armaments, much as the warjacks do. They also look super cool.
Warmachine & Hordes
With such a strong focus on Warmachine leading up to and through the Infernal invasion, it’s time for Hordes to get some love. We saw a bunch of new models for the Legion of Everblight and the Trollbloodsm, as well as some merc/minion models such as the Death Archon. The Grymkin will also receive some new models, including the blasphemous Defiled Archon, and Isiah the Dread Harvester, their pumpkin-headed dragoon who can turn his own victims into Dread Rots.
While Hordes factions will be enjoying a little time in the limelight, Warmachine won’t be completely ignored, with the Retribution of Scyrah expanding into House Ellowuyr. Thyron and his Swordsmen have reinforcements incoming. The Crucible Guard will also receive new models, including Major Aline Benett, a Rocketman Warcaster.
Riot Quest is entering its second season, with the Wintertime Wasteland kickstarter live as we speak. A new map, a new block of looters, all of which will be compatible with both Warmachine and Hordes, including the baby Gorax. Maybe he’ll be a companion model for the new Boomhowler? Pure speculation on my part of course. The core set gives us a new melee-centric Boomhowler, a new Black Bella, a post apocalyptic Yuri the Hunter, the Nyss sorceress Yssylla, the aforementioned baby Gorax, Shivers.
The new edition Riot Quest will add a slew of new heroes, including the first dual hero, Dez (from the Mayhem block) with Gubbin (also from the Mayhem block) loaded into a mortar. The Man-o-War Bulkhead will add some serious armor plating, while Bumbles the bear is adorably lethal. Major Benett – the Rocketman Warcaster mentioned earlier – will also be released as a Riot Quest model. For Kickstarter exclusives, alternate sculpts of some of the original Mayhem heroes will be available.
While there’s no new Menites in the immediate winds, I can acknowledge that other players need new toys too, and I can appreciate the novelty of having more things to set on fire with Feora the Forsaken. Also, gimme two of those Interceptors ASAP…
Good citizens! The Iron Star Alliance is the pinnacle of interstellar government, offering you peace and security and stability! All that we ask is your compliance. Don’t be like those dirty Marcher Worlds Coalition anarchists. Why, some of them don’t even shave! Washing their hands after using the restroom is merely a suggestion to them, not enforced for the sake of public safety like it is in the Alliance core worlds. Don’t you want to be safe from the evils of poor hygiene and unsanitary habits? Compliant citizens have nothing to fear from the Paladin squads, who are dedicated to your well-being. It is advised that you heed their instructions at all times.
The troops of the Iron Star Aliance are clean, regimented, and frankly, a little sinister. I dig the aesthetic, clean armor plates accented with glowie points all over the place. In the end I went with a scheme not too dissimilar to the studio scheme, but rather than carrying the orange glow throughout the model I decided to restrict it to the arc receivers and a few additional points, going with a blue glow otherwise. Imagine being a Continuum agent, thinking your all safe in your rodent-infested hideaway, when suddenly a smoke grenade pops, filling the room, and all you can see is vague silhouettes and points of blue light. It’s a little bit alien invasion, a little bit time to pay for your crimes against the Alliance…
I’ve spoken with my superiors at Iron Star Alliance High Command and we’re all in agreement that the coalition of anarchists and ne’er-do-wells that make up the Marcher Worlds are probably highly prone to returning library books way past their due dates, drinking milk right from the carton, and squeezing toothpaste tubes in the middle. They’re also one of the three factions launching Privateer Press’ Warcaster: Neo-Mechanika, which will soon be funneling out to Kickstarter backers and making their way onto shelves.
As much as I’m loathe to spread the fame of the Marcher Worlds insurgents, I’ve been instructed to provide the following images so that all true loyalists and adherents of the Iron Star Alliance, responsible for the peace and prosperity of humanity as a species among the stars, can identify these dangerous individuals and report them to the authorities accordingly.
In other, completely unrelated news, these gorgeous models were painted by Lost pal Pat, who showcases his work on Facebook at The Artisan’s Edge and on Instagram at @artisansedge.
When I came home from work to find a small care package lurking on my doorstep from Privateer Press, I never suspected that they were trying to subvert my allegiance. Subtly trying to tempt me away from the peace, security and stability offered by the Iron Star Alliance, Privateer has sent three models, and each of them is affiliated with those detestable outworlders, the chaos-merchants of the Marcher Worlds Coalition. FINE. I SEE HOW IT IS.
Before we look at the models though, I was brash enough to rouse the sleeping dragon that is Will “Oz” Schoonover on Saturday morning, and I made him share words with me. I invite you to listen to them as he talks about Warcaster: Neo-Mechanika. I will caution – The Gdaycave is home to a flock of feathered hooligans nowadays, and some may be heard throughout the recording. I assure you, they are being very respectful and are definitely not uttering invectives in their native tongues.
On to the models! I will note, these are pre-release models, and are all metal. I suspect we’ll see more hybrid metal/resin models when we see general release, especially for the warjacks, though this is not guaranteed.
Behold, the Marcher Worlds Weaver. I’ll confess the haircut is pretty sweet, but she’s fomenting chaos and rebellion, I tell you!
This is in fact the alternate Coalition Weaver model, which was expected to release at the sadly cancelled Adepticon. A dramatic model reflective of the Weaver’s lynchpin role, the Weaver comes in four pieces, one of which is the head with that fabulous sidecut. The enormous lollipop attaches to the backpack via cable, which means you really should attach the backpack first so that you can line the cable up.
Last year, Privateer Press – makers of one of our favorite games, Level 7: Escape – teased us about their impending foray into sci-fi miniature wargaming. Set in the far-flung future of the world we know and love from Warmachine and Hordes, Warcaster unveils the future of a humanity that fled to the stars, found new homes, argued with the locals, and then remembered that warjacks were a super cool concept but now they could go zappity-pew-pew as well as bangity-bang-boom.
You can check out the official page here, and PP Honcho Matt Wilson tossed out some answers to immediate questions in a Privateer Insider, but I thought we could collate some info here for your reading ease/pleasure. I’m totally expecting Matt to show up next GenCon wearing a short that just says “Honcho”, btw. Special tip o’ the hat to Lonelymonk for his compilation assistance.
2 players, 35mm scale, 60-90 minutes per game on a 4’x4′ table.
Warcasters are not models on the table, the player is the Warcaster commanding battles from orbit.
Players will build a ‘rack’ of cards at the beginning of the game which will consist of the cyphers (spells) they use during the game.
‘Units’ is a term used for any model in a game. A Unit can be a warjack, a solo, or a squad (usually of 3)
Each turn you will be moving Arc around the board; assigning it to units or using it to cast ciphers
An example benefit was on the Marcher Worlds sniper solo, which gains increased range and damage when it has Arc on it
Ciphers are channeled through solos that act as the point of origin
Uses the MonPoc/Riot Quest dice (some sort of modifier mechanic has been implied)
You can’t win on attrition; units can be teleported back in to the field over the course of the game
20-30 models for an army, but it sounds like half of that (or less) will be on the field at a time, the rest act as a bench to pull from when you want to teleport units into play
Warjacks can be customized. Most will have hardpoints for each arm, each shoulder, and their cortex (represented by different heads).
Jack kits will come with parts for all possible configurations (magnets for the win)
Terrain is greatly simplified from Warmahordes, with broader categories of terrain so players can decide what each piece on their board counts as
The game uses alternating activations
3 factions on Kickstarter launch; Iron Star Alliance, Marcher Worlds, and a third faction to be revealed during the Kickstarter.
Focusing on human factions first, ‘weirder’ alien factions are planned for later.
There will be models that work for multiple factions ala Mercenaries but no Mercenaries faction
Kickstarter will launch within the next month with delivery of some models planned for June 2020.
So the game is looking to be well within our comfort zone as Warmachine players, same table size is the same, model count and play time are about the same. Scale’s a little larger, which opens up all sorts of painting opportunities depending on the models. I’m curious for clarification on base sizes, I may need to reach out to Dragonforge once we know what ranges we’re looking at.
I’m torn on the card thing, though I freely acknowledge that I’m not a huge fan of having to build a customized hand/deck of cards with miniature games. It’s a huge part of why I never got fully into Warhammer: Underworlds, and my least favorite aspect of Marvel: Crisis Protocol, which I otherwise love. Oddly enough, I’m all over the custom loot deck for Riot Quest, so I’m clearly a complicated individual. I’ll be curious how big a “rack” is built – half a dozen cards like a Warcaster’s spell list? Or a 30 card deck sort of thing? Time will tell.
The use of the strike dice, which we’re familiar with from Monsterpocalypse and Riot Quest, isn’t a huge surprise, but an interesting choice for Privateer. We’ve seen proprietary dice work beautifully with a number of tabletop miniature games, but it indicates a different approach to determining success/failure than Warmachine’s 2d6+stat system. Whether or not it will be sufficiently granular will depend on the overall ruleset.
Customizable hardpoints for the warjack kits is a very interested feature, and a natural step from the warjacks we know in Warmachine, given that a number of them are essentially different loadouts on the exact same chassis. This does mean I’ll potentially be looking to up my modeling game to include magnets.
The biggest thing for me, personally, will be seeing the additional factions. Three factions at launch (two in the starter, third announced through the Kickstarter) is curious. I would have expected four to attempt to hit a wider array of aesthetic/conceptual preferences, but I get the pressures of marketing and production, especially given that we’re looking at having all three factions available at Lock & Load in June.
We know very little about the two factions announced thus far – the Marcher Worlds and the Iron Star Alliance – aside from the look of some of their models. I’m curious to see more of their ranges, to find out about their backstories, and to see what else we can expect in terms of other factions in Warcaster: Neo-Mechanika.
We’ll find out more in the lead-up to Lock & Load, especially with the Kickstarter set to launch in the next month or so, but suffice to say that Warcaster is generating some significant anticipatory discussion on the interwebs.
Are you aboard the hype train? Are you looking forward to the Marchers or Iron Stars? There’s Privateer Press flavored pew-pew on the horizon, thrillseekers…